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Wagstaff’s Picks: Reckoning 2017 November 26, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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The verdict is in: I suck.

The number crunching I did the last few weeks might have made for a nice hobby, but clearly does not have the same success rate in predicting rough ideas of scores & lines as it seems to (so far, anyway) in the NBA. My earlier method of combining spread records with a rough calculation had slightly better results, but no mechanical formula I could concoct would consistently crack the 60% barrier I needed to get past.

I went a crappy 9-15 this past weekend, bringing the final season totals to 65-73-3, a 47% winning percentage. UGH.

It translates to roughly being down 14 1/2 betting units assuming none of those wins were money lines.

For a comparison, in just the past few days, a nearly identical method of handicapping NBA games has a record of 13-4, ahead 7.7 betting units. I think I know what I’ll be focusing on for the next several months as far as sports handicapping goes. I will not be posting my activity along those lines here, unless there’s some sort of shocking outcry. And I say shocking since it didn’t really look like additional traffic to this blog got driven by these football posts. I’d have a better sense of schaudenfreude if my winning percentage was better, but anyone who bets serious money on this stuff was wise to avoid me this year.

But hey, the Pats won today! They’re getting banged up, but they’re certainly looking better than they did earlier in the season. The big test will be the Pittsburgh game in a few weeks.

And a rough plot for the third installment of the Wagstaff detective novels has come together, finally. So that’ll be the other thing I start pouring time into.



Wagstaff’s Picks Finale: Weekend of November 24-25, 2017 November 23, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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I’ll finish off the college football season with a whopping TWO DOZEN picks, based on the mathmagicland approach that gave me an 8-6 record last week, bringing the season totals to 56-58-3.

Spread patterns didn’t work as well this year as in past years. Teams were more erratic from week to week, and key injuries meant more in college this year, the way they usually do in the pros.

I’ll go over it a zillion different ways, I’m sure, trying to work out some sort of new tweaks and methodology with next year in mind. (At least the number crunching approach works for NBA games, at least so far…. although I won’t be posting those picks here. But THAT particular system yielded a 29-14 success rate in the first week of real tests. Next week? The second half of the season? Who the hell knows.)

Here are this week’s picks:

Toledo -13.5 W Michigan

N Illinois -3 C Michigan

Buffalo +5 Ohio U

UCF -10 S Florida

Florida Int’l +2.5 W Kentucky , also Under 55

UCLA -7 Cal

Rutgers +13.5 Michigan St

Purdue -2.5 Indiana

Wake Forest -11.5 Duke, also under 58.5

Iowa St +3 Kansas St

Kentucky +10 Louisville

Marshall -2.5 Southern Miss

LA Monroe +8 Arkansas St

Stanford +2 Notre Dame

S Carolina +13.5 Clemson

Fresno St +7 Boise St

SMU -8 Tulane

Lousiana Lafayette -6 Georgia South

Tulsa +3 Temple

UTSA +2 Lousiana Tech

Auburn +4.5 Alabama

Hawaii +3 BYU

Yup. I’ve got Stanford beating Notre Dame, and Auburn and the points against ‘Bama in a game that could go either way, but I think it’ll be a field goal kind of game. The best money line bet in the bunch would most likely be Buffalo.

I’ll post a reckoning next week. And now, it’s time to snarf down Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy my last day before I turn a year older tomorrow.


Wagstaff’s Picks – Weekend of November 16-18, 2017 November 15, 2017

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Welcome to the SPECIAL MATH EDITION of my picks. After crunching numbers different ways, some adjustments to the picking strategy have been made, and results were a bit better.

In my usual way of picking, I went a dismal 2-5-1 last week, bringing the season totals to 48-52-3.

In the number crunching math world last week with picks¬† I won’t post here but TRUST ME!!!!! I went 12-11-1 in picks against spreads, but 20-11 in over/unders.

So, the new method is where we’ll go this week. So there.

College Games:

S Florida by 22 over Tulsa

W Kentucky +3 against Mid Tn St

Virginia Tech by 15 over Pittsburgh

Wake Forest by 2 over NC State

Northwestern by 7.5 over Minnesota

Old Dominion by 8 over Rice

Memphis by 13 over SMU

Iowa St by 9 over Baylor (if I could only pick one game this week, this would be it)

Penn St by 26 over Nebraska

Arkansas St by 26 over Texas St

Some over/unders:

Oklahoma/Kansas OVER 70.5

Air Force/Boise State OVER 57

Arizona St/Oregon State OVER 59

Oklahoma St/Kansas St OVER 65

Basically, I put together a method of varying calculations to project likely scores and went from there. If my projections were in sync with the point spreads and over/under totals, I’d pass. If something was askew or could be gambled on based on recent team trends (and THAT’S the true iffiness factor), I’d go for it. It’s worked pretty well so far with NBA picks too, by the way, even though I won’t be posting those here.

Some great games this weekend as we come down to the end of the season and all those teams knocking at the top-4-playoff door are essentially playing early playoff games. And if you noticed, I’m staying away from most of ’em.

I get the entire week of Thanksgiving off, too. Looking forward to it… even if it contains my birthday.

It’s not easy turning 157, y’know. Everything hurts.



Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of November 10-11, 2017 November 8, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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Only a few more weeks of this to see if I can improve my overall percentage. I went 4-5 last week to drop below .500 with totals of 46-47-2. Not exactly the sort of numbers encouraging me to go pro, are they?

Then again, nothing encourages me, except maybe a cat looking at me for pets. I need to get out more.

For this week, I’ll start with a decent Friday night game and pick Washington to cover 5 1/2 over Stanford.

In the Saturday games:

South Carolina by 7 over Florida

Boston College plus 3 against NC State (and a +135 moneyline to boot since I think they’ll win)

Utah plus 1 against Washington State

Southern Miss by 10 over Rice (I had some Szechuan Chicken over rice the other night, I’ll take it as a sign)

Arizona State plus 2 1/2 against UCLA (and a +120 moneyline on that one for AZ State as well)

Clemson by 16 over Florida State (I bet that one looked a lot better back when the schedule was made)

Arizona by 22 over Oregon State because, well, why not?

NHL/NBA update: Still honing the overall system, but getting a tad better in the NBA picks, which hopefully bodes well for college basketball season coming up. 47-41 overall. Meh. If anything, I’m getting more money’s worth out of my DirecTV since I’m watching more games I’ve staked my ego on, if not real money.

Wagstaff’s Picks – Weekend of November 4, 2017 November 2, 2017

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I’m still stuck at .500 after going 4-4 last week, bringing the totals to 42-42-2. But that’ll be tough to do this week without a push in there, since I have 9 games I’m fairly confident about.

I think I will abandon making NFL picks this season. No, nothing to do with anthem protests and so forth, much more to do with the total unpredictability stemming from the amount of parity in the league this year. Any team can beat any other team on any given week, it seems (never mind the overall quality of play looking like crap compared to previous years). So while I’ll continue to follow the Patriots, I’m not going to mix NFL point spreads and the like into my stats.

Want more impressive stats? While I haven’t posted any of my NBA or NHL picks as I work on honing various screens in both of those sports, I’m 31-23 so far. I don’t plan to post those, I’m simply trying the exercise to see if it’ll be worthwhile.

This week’s picks:

Syracuse plus 5 1/2 against Florida State

Northwestern plus 1 1/2 against Nebraska

Iowa State plus 2 1/2 against West Virginia

Nevada plus 22 against Boise State

Southern Miss plus 6 1/2 against Tennessee

Tulane by 5 1/2 over Cincinnati

UAB by 10 1/2 over Rice

Fresno State by 14 over BYU

Washington State by 2 over Stanford

I also like the +210 moneyline on Southern Miss to win against Tennessee outright, but I won’t make that one part of my won/lost stats. If I were betting in Vegas, I’d also most likely take the moneylines in the Northwestern (+100) and Iowa State (+120) games instead of the spreads since I think they’ll win outright, and those spreads don’t make a lot of difference in games I don’t think will be that close.

But what the hell do I know? I’m still at .500


Wagstaff’s Picks – Week of October 27-28, 2017 October 24, 2017

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Another wash week (yeah I know, I could use a bath). I went 4-4-1 to keep my season totals at .500 at 38-38-2. Only another month or so of the college games, and I’m not crazy about picking NFL this season since everyone is beating everyone else.

And while I’ve been branching out towards NBA and NHL picks, on paper anyway, I really don’t think I’ll be posting those here. I probably shouldn’t post the football picks that much and blog about other stuff, but I’d rather NOT blog about the next Wagstaff mystery in the works until it’s done, and that’ll be only God knows when.

Sorta like other books in the pipeline. That pipeline, I believe, runs to Alaska at this point. Oy.

In any case, I’m not too bad at picking games in sports like basketball and hockey where I know next to nothing compared to football and baseball. Maybe that’s the key. I’m 8-2 (money line only) so far in the NHL and 3-3 (with spreads) in the NBA.

No one is signing me up for a fat contract at Barstool or elsewhere, however. Meh.

The Yankees went further than I ever thought they would this year, although they fell short of the World Series by a hair. It turned out to be a lot more like the 1995 Yankees rather than the 1996 team, but I think the history-rhymes version of that late ’90s run is coming up soon.

The Patriots defense looked a HELL of a lot better against the Falcons on Sunday night, and hopefully will continue to play at this level or better in the second half of the season.

I just finished watching the Dodgers look pretty damn good in Game 1, and landed on the 2nd half of Slap Shot while channel surfing. So it’s all good!

Anyway, here are this week’s picks, starting with two Friday games:

Boston College plus 3 against Florida State

SMU by 10 over Tulsa

Wake Forest plus 2 1/2 against Louisville

Rutgers plus 23 1/2 against Michigan

Marshall by 17 over Florida International

Virginia plus 3 1/2 against Pittsburgh

Notre Dame by 7 over NC State

North Texas by 12 over Old Dominion

Let’s see if I can climb above even money this week.

Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of October 19-21, 2017 October 18, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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I ran the table with last week’s choices, going a PERFECT 7-0! I can’t remember the last time I did that, not sure if I ever did, though I’ve hit 4 team parlay bets in Vegas on my tippy-top choices a couple of times.

It evened up my season totals to 34-34-1.

A 7 team parlay would pay 75-1 or thereabouts. Hmm…. maybe I WILL go pro.

Or maybe this week, I’ll go down the toilet. Who knows?

Still skipping the pro picks, and it’s a good year to do so. Everyone is beating everyone else in the NFL this year. I throw up my hands and walk away from it, even if the worst call in the history of replays basically gave my Pats a win last week. An ugly, undeserved win against a crappy Jets team, too. Doesn’t exactly bode well for their chances against tougher teams like the Falcons, Raiders and Steelers coming up. The defense has been pathetic.

But college games have been fun, and there are some great matchups this week, although I’m only picking one of them.

9 games this week, the first on Thursday:

Arkansas State by 12 1/2 over LA Lafayette

SMU by 7 1/2 over Cincinnati (the one I’m iffiest about, if you care)

Ohio U by 19 over Kent State

East Michigan plus 3 against West Michigan

Michigan State by 6 1/2 over Indiana

UAB by 7 1/2 over Charlotte

Duke by 8 over Pittsburgh

Idaho plus 15 against Missouri

Notre Dame by 3 1/2 over USC

A 9 team parlay payout is 300-1. Ball’s in your court, mac.

Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of October 14, 2017 October 12, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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Another middling result from last week. I went 7-6 to bring the season totals to 27-34-1. Only 7 picks to make this week, so if I run the table, I’ll be batting .500 for the season.

Been watching a lot more baseball than football in the past couple of weeks as well – the playoffs have been great, and the Yankees are doing WAY better than I ever would have predicted, and I’m enjoying all of it.

No NFL picks again, but here are my 7 college football choices:

Ohio U by 9 1/2 over Bowling Green

Virginia by 3 1/2 over North Carolina

Marshall by 15 1/2 over Old Dominion

Utah plus 13 against USC

Ohio State by 24 over Nebraska

New Mexico State by 7 1/2 over Georgia Southern

South Carolina plus 3 1/2 against Tennessee

And no, I really didn’t care about the Star Wars trailer.


Wagstaff’s Picks: Week of Oct 4-7, 2017 October 3, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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The worst case scenario resulted from last week’s picks – I went 5-5.

My original theory, as you may have surmised by the picture clue from the previous post, was to make my picks and then actually go with the opposite. Was my handicapping a reverse barometer?

Well, no.

My handicapping makes no difference whatsoever, it seems. I’m no different than a random coin flip. A solid 50%.

I REFUSE to believe that. Maybe it would work that way in a single week, but over the course of an entire season, my thought processes/opinions/analysis should prove better than 50% if I’m accurate and lower if I keep making mistakes.

Season totals are 20-28-1, for a percentage of .408, so perhaps a few more weeks of non-negative results can bring me up to that magic 60% figure found among the top pros at this crap.

Back to my original screens/system/masochism. I came up with these:

Arkansas St by 7 1/2 over Georgia South

Notre Dame by 15 over North Carolina

Buffalo plus 6 1/2 against Western Michigan

Ohio U by 12 over Central Michigan

Syracuse by 4 1/2 over Pittsburgh

New Mexico State plus 11 against Appalachian State

Maryland plus 31 1/2 against Ohio State

Minnesota plus 4 against Purdue

Utah plus 6 1/2 against Stanford

Tulane by 4 over Tulsa

LA Monroe by 6 over Texas St

Northern Illinois by 23 1/2 over Kent State

Miami by 3 over Florida State

Hopefully I’ll improve. Hopefully the Patriots’ defense will improve.

Hopefully…well, a lotta things, to be honest. But time will tell.

Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of September 28-30, 2017 September 27, 2017

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I did a tad better than in the last round, but not much better than a coin flip. Going a total of 8-7 brings me to a season total of 15-23-1.

Which SUCKS.

So a NEW screen has been added this week, just to see what happens.

I’ll tell you what it is next week, if it works.

So here we go:

Texas by 6 over Iowa State

Duke plus 6 1/2 against Miami

Kentucky by 14 1/2 over East Michigan

Massachusetts plus 8 1/2 against Ohio U

Northwestern plus 14 against Wisconsin

Connecticut by 18 over SMU

Arkansas by 17 over New Mexico State

Florida by 10 over Vanderbilt

North Texas plus 8 1/2 against Southern Miss

Nevada plus 10 against Fresno State

My new screen worked amazingly well in some paper baseball betting… we’ll see if it works here.